Cheryl S. Hightower, 65, of Hesperia, was killed in a San Bernardino car accident, after officials say her motorcycle was struck by a driver who ran a stop sign. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the fatal motorcycle accident occurred at the intersection of North Shore and Greenway drives in Big Bear City, the morning of August 31, 2011. California Highway Patrol officials say Hightower was driving a 1997 Harley-Davidson Dyna FXD west on North Shore when a Jeep Grand Cherokee that ran a stop sign at Greenway hit her. Hightower died at the scene. The Jeep’s driver, identified as Walter B. Campbell, was uninjured. An investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Cheryl Hightower for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to CHP’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died due to motorcycle accidents in Big Bear. In San Bernardino County as a whole, 32 fatalities and 450 injuries were reported involving motorcycle accidents in 2009.
Possible Stop Sign Violation
Based on this news report, officials are saying that Campbell drove his Jeep right through a stop sign at the intersection, without yielding right-of-way to Hightower’s oncoming Harley. California law requires drivers to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and proceed with caution.
According to California Vehicle Code Section 21802 (a): “The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop as required by Section 22450. The driver shall then yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have approached from another highway, or which are approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.” I trust officials are looking into whether Campbell was distracted, impaired, inattentive, speeding or otherwise negligent at the time of the crash.
Fault and Liability
If Campbell is determined to have been at fault, he could be held civilly liable for Hightower’s wrongful death. In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of a deceased car accident victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and benefits, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages. An experienced California motorcycle accident attorney will be able to better advise families of victims in such cases about their legal rights and options.